“Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance,” English writer Samuel Johnson (1709-1784).
I don’t consider receiving any job in any organization of the United Nations, a distinguished achievement for any country, especially since experience has taught us that the returns of such positions do not equate with a quarter of efforts exerted to obtain the position.
However, having such a job is not harmful at all. Countries from which the persons holding positions in such organizations are credited for participating in voluntary international endeavors, let alone positively adding to the country’s reputation if the job is occupied by someone competent.
A week or two ago, there was a fierce challenge in obtaining the general directorship of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) — an agency of the United Nations that promotes education, communication and the arts.
The two main contenders were from the State of Qatar and the Republic of France. After the final votes were cast in favor of either of the two contenders, the French nominee emerged as the winner.
Undoubtedly, every country in the United Nations has full right to support and vote for whomever they want. Such support and vote might have economic, political or any other benefits depending on the circumstances in play.
Here I am talking about how things work in such cases based on logic and rationality, not political disillusion and skewed confrontation.
Despite the challenges faced by the Qatari delegate, especially from the Arab ‘relatives,’ he demonstrated high class performance throughout his efforts to win as he continued to lead in the votes until the final round.
In this round, the envy of Arabs manifested itself. Unfortunately, those who were supposed to stand with the Qatari delegate by default went on to openly declare their stand against Qatar’s bid, followed by the celebration of Qatar’s loss and not France’s victory.
Years back, Saudi Arabia’s famous poet and politician, the late Ghazi Abdul-Rahman Al-Qoseibi, vied for the same position. His performance prior to the voting was wonderful, but it wasn’t enough to defeat his main contender from Japan.
At the time, the main reason for his loss was lack of proper coordination between Arabs despite Al-Qoseibi’s competence and popularity.
The difference between that time and this time was the Arabs did not stand against their own like they did recently. It was a strange scene that was even broadcasted on various global press media.
The Qatari nominee lost the position by a difference of two votes (30-28), but he did present an honorable image of his country that became the interest of observers throughout the campaign.
I express my sincere congratulations to UNESCO’S newly elected Director-General Audrey Azoulay. I express my admiration and respect for the great performance of Qatar’s nominee, Hamad bin Abdulaziz Al-Kawari.
By Yousef Awadh Al-Azmi